Should I Get A Second Opinion on the Value of My Case?
[Below is a transcription of the podcast]
I’m Ann Margaret Perkins with Perkins Law Firm and I wanted to talk about something I’ve seen advertised on television by some attorneys – getting a second opinion on the value of your personal injury case.
When I get to the point that I can review all the evidence necessary to value my client’s case, I have a discussion with them about what I think the value is and why. Typically that involves a range of what, if we go to court, I believe a jury’s verdict would be – between X and Y. That’s what we need to aim for in terms of the settlement. I haven’t had this happen very often but a couple of times I’ve had that discussion with the client and they told me they felt like their case should be worth more. In that circumstance, I have told the client that even though I’m confident in my ability to value their case, the client should get another opinion from an experienced personal injury attorney. If that attorney agrees with me that should help give the client confidence; if not, then I certainly I would take that into consideration. But clients need to be aware that just going for another opinion to see if they can get someone to tell them that the value of their case is higher is not a good idea.
If you do want to get a second opinion or your attorney recommends you get another opinion, you need to do it very promptly. The statute of limitations in Georgia on most injury claims and wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the injury-causing event. You don’t want to be trying to get everything together to get a second opinion from an attorney six months before your statute runs. You want to do that as quickly as possible. And when you go to see them, take them a complete copy of your current attorney’s file. Anyone who tells you they can value your case without complete information is not telling you the truth.
Who do you want to value your case? You want it to be an attorney who’s very experienced in personal injury claims. And I don’t mean just someone who settles cases. You want someone who actually tries cases, because that’s how an attorney learns to gauge the value of cases. They need to have tried cases and they need to have some experience in what we call the” venue” – the county where your case would be tried.
I pretty often have people come to me and ask for a second opinion on their case. Some come to me and say they want to fire the lawyer they currently have because they don’t agree with the value. That’s when I say, “Don’t be hasty, don’t fire them just yet. I’m glad to look at it and give you my opinion on the value and then if you need to terminate them, you can do that. But don’t rush into terminating them. If they are right about the value, you may want them to finish the case.” I tell them I need the entire file; I ask them what they want and why; I ask what their current attorney told them the case was worth and why; and I explain I may need to talk to the current. There might be questions that attorney can answer for me that will make a difference in what I tell the person wanting the second opinion. If someone’s not prepared for me to talk to that other attorney, I generally won’t give them a second opinion since, for it to be worth anything, it needs to be based on a thorough understanding of the case.
Just like in medicine sometimes a second opinion is necessary. But if you start with someone who is experienced, who you believe in, who you have a good relationship with, then hopefully that won’t be necessary. I am hopeful that this podcast has given you some information that you can use. If you have any other questions about this or any issue associated with personal injury or wrongful death, please give us a call. Our number is 770-834-2083. You can also visit our website to learn about all kinds of issues concerning personal injury and wrongful death cases www.injuryispersonal.com